Over one million older American adults now live in assisted living facilities, according to the CDC. As the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, it is estimated that the need for additional assisted living options will increase dramatically.
Why Assisted Living is an Attractive Option
For relatively healthy older adults who need some help with activities of daily living, but do not require extensive medical care, assisted living communities offer an attractive alternative to nursing home care. Some of the benefits of assisted living are:
- generally costs less than nursing home care
- promotes increased social interaction in a community setting
- fosters greater independence and self-esteem
- offers amenities that provide added convenience for older adults
These advantages, as well as others, make assisted living communities a great choice for a number of older Americans.
The EB-5 Visa Program Enters the Picture
Increasing demand for suitable facilities is prompting global investor interest in the senior living industry. Ultra high net worth Chinese investors, loosely defined as those with a net worth of over $50 million, are turning their attention to investing in the construction of assisted living facilities across the United States as part of the USCIS EB-5 Visa program.
The EB-5 Visa program is designed to attract foreign investors to the U.S. to create more jobs for American workers. In return for investing either $500,000 or $1 million dollars and creating at least 10 jobs for American workers, foreign investors receive a green card which grants them permanent residency for themselves, their spouses, and any children under the age of 21.
Foreign Investment Fuels Construction
Following the financial crisis of 2008-2009, there has been a considerable increase in Chinese investment in the senior living construction industry. There is a growing trend among ultra high net worth Chinese investors toward owning real assets such as commercial real estate, including assisted living communities. According to CNNMoney, 80 percent of EB-5 visas issued in 2014 went to Chinese nationals.
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Partnering with Chinese investors, a joint venture between FCM Capital Partners and PDC Capital Group is currently working on a $750 million development of 25 SummerPlace Assisted Living & Memory Care residences in California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Texas and the Carolinas.
Emilio Francisco, PDC’s Chief Executive Officer, notes: “Assisted living centers are the perfect industry for our investors. Assisted living is a growth industry and has the potential to generate hundreds of good jobs in the health care sector in areas that need employment growth and high quality senior housing.”
Looking to the Future
With demand for appropriate senior living facilities likely to continue to increase in coming years, it appears that there will be ample opportunity for foreign investors to make their mark in the industry. Creating jobs for American workers and places for older adults to call home, these investors provide a needed service in exchange for permanent residency in the U.S.
For the latest on living arrangements for seniors, check out senior housing on The Senior List.